Micro-RNAs may serve as important biomarkers in understanding the pathophysiology of hand osteoarthritis (OA), according to research results presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2022, held from November 10 to 14, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The researchers studied the role of micro-RNAs as potential regulators involved in the pathophysiology of hand OA.

The QUALYOR study included postmenopausal women with and without HOA from participating clinics in France. Patients were stratified into 3 groups, based on symptoms, including patients with erosive hand OA (≥3 erosive joints); patients with symptomatic hand OA without erosions; and patients without hand OA. Patients without hand OA were age- and sex-matched with patients with hand OA.


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This micro-RNA signature could become a biomarker of interest and could help better understanding the pathophysiology.

Blood samples from each patient were analyzed for expression levels of the 768 most-described micro-RNAs, and pairwise comparisons of each micro-RNA expression level were conducted. Micro-RNAs identified in the screening phase were then validated in a larger sample of patients with and without hand OA.

In the screening phase, researchers identified a total of 12 down-regulated and 4 up-regulated micro-RNAs in the hand OA groups compared with the control group. A total of 4 of the down-regulated and 3 of the up-regulated micro-RNAs have been previously described in the literature as associated with chondrocytes homeostasis or OA.

No significant differences in micro-RNA expression levels were observed between the erosive and nonerosive hand OA groups, which could suggest that while erosive and nonerosive hand OA are phenotypically different, certain aspects of the pathophysiology may be shared.

“We have identified for the first time in [hand] OA a micro-RNA signature associated to the disease that will be validated in the second step of the study. This micro-RNA signature could become a biomarker of interest and could help better understanding the pathophysiology,” the study authors concluded.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 

Reference

Auroux M, Millet M, Merle B, et al. New biomarkers in hand osteoarthritis: the micro-RNA signature. Presented at: ACR Convergence 2022; November 10-14; Philadelphia, PA. Abstract #0023.

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor